Functions of the Council

The functions of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council, outlined in Article 7 of the Environmental Management Act of 2007, are:

(a) To promote co-operation and co-ordination between organs of state, non- governmental organisations, community based organisations, the private sector and funding agencies, on environmental issues relating to sustainable development;

(b) To advise the Minister -

(i) on the development of a policy and strategy for the management, protection and use of the environment;

(ii) on the conservation of biological diversity, access to genetic resources in Namibia and the use of components of the environment in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of the environment, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations;

(iii) on appropriate methods of monitoring compliance with the principles set out in section 3 of the Environmental Management Act (see text box below);

(iv) on the need for, and initiation or amendment of legislation, on matters relating to the environment;

(c) To perform other functions assigned to it by the Minister.

The Council is expected to advise on appropriate methods of monitoring compliance to the following 12 principles:

  1.  Renewable resources must be used on a sustainable basis for the benefit of present and future generations;
  2.  Community involvement in natural resources management and the sharing of benefits arising from the use of the resources, must be promoted and facilitated;
  3.  The participation of all interested and affected parties must be promoted and decisions must take into account the interest, needs and values of interested and affected parties;
  4.  Equitable access to environmental resources must be promoted and the functional integrity of ecological systems must be taken into account to ensure the sustainability of the systems and to prevent harmful effects;
  5.  Assessments must be undertaken for activities which may have a significant effects on the environment or the use of natural resources;
  6.  Sustainable development must be promoted in all aspects relating to the environment;
  7.  Namibia’s cultural and natural heritage including, its biological diversity, must be protected and respected for the benefit of present and future generations;
  8.  The option that provides the most benefit or causes the least damage to the environment as a whole, at a cost acceptable to society, in the long term as well as in the short term must be adopted to reduce the generation of waste and polluting substances at source;
  9.  The reduction, re-use and recycling of waste must be promoted;
  10. A person who causes damage to the environment must pay the costs associated with rehabilitation of damage to the environment and to human health caused by pollution, including costs for measures as are reasonably required to be implemented to prevent further environmental damage;
  11. Where there is sufficient evidence which establishes that there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to the environment, lack of full scientific certainty may not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation; and
  12. Damage to the environment must be prevented and activities which cause such damage must be reduced, limited or controlled.